'F9': The Return of Justin Lin, and Han Lue

Set for release this week, "F9" is the theatrical movie to see, which finds justice for Han, and welcomes the return of director Justin Lin.

Chuck Walton

By Chuck Walton

F9 AAPI Heritage Month Sung Kang

© Universal Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection

One of the best elements of the "Fast & Furious" film franchise has been its commitment to diversity in its group of street-racers-turned-international-action-heroes. Men and women of all ethnicities bond together as family, producing a global brand of blockbuster entertainment. And with "F9," we welcome the return of "Fast" franchise filmmaker Justin Lin, and Sung Kang's beloved character, Han Lue.

The Movie

© Universal Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection

© Universal Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection

A lot of the story (watch the trailer) is still under wraps, but here's what we know. Dom (Vin Diesel) and the gang are enjoying the domestic life. However, that's not for long, as a new adversary/assassin/amazing driver is out to get them. Even better, he's Dom and Mia's (Jordana Brewster) long-lost brother Jakob Toretto. Action star/WWE wrestler John Cena does the honors as Jakob.

Jakob's in league with "Fast" villain Cipher (Charlize Theron). In addition, he may be tied to matriarch Magdalene Shaw (Helen Mirren). Also back for the action are Letty (Michelle Rodriguez), Roman (Tyrese Gibson), Tej (Ludacris) and Megan (Nathalie Emmanuel).

Best of all, Sung Kang's Han Lue returns from the dead to rejoin his comrades. Will there be justice for Han? We'll have to wait and see how exactly he's made it back to the living.

AAPI Connections

After missing in action for so long, Sung Kang's Han revival is especially welcome. Over the last few "Fast" films and the spin-off "Hobbs & Shaw," it seemed like a raw deal that Han's seeming killer Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham) was just somehow welcomed into the family. Han, always amazingly played by Korean actor Sung Kang, is an "F9" AAPI movie hero, and he's beloved by "Fast" fans. He'll be a big reason for them coming out for this latest installment.

Also worth celebrating in "F9" for the AAPI community is the return of director Justin Lin, who guided the franchise to lucrative success from third movie "Tokyo Drift" all the way through to "Fast & Furious 6." After handing off the reigns to filmmakers James Wan ("Furious 7") and F. Gary Gray ("The Fate of the Furious"), Lin is back. And he'll direct the next two final chapters. Plus, he wrote "F9" and came up with the story with Daniel Casey.

Why You Should Watch It

© Universal Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection

© Universal Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection

"F9" is what big spectacle, must-see-in-a-theater movies are all about. 2020 and the start of 2021 were terrible. Subsequently, when this one opens this week, it'll be a celebration of huge, loud, fun entertainment where everyone's welcome, and everyone's represented up there on the silver screen. Justice for Han, and all of us.

Did You Know

Justin Lin and Sung Kang were partners in film before their work together on "The Fast & The Furious: Tokyo Drift." The Asian collaborators paired up four years before on "Better Luck Tomorrow," which marked the first appearance of Sung Kang's Han character. The earlier film is the origin story of Han, and his original gang of Asian American cohorts. It's a smaller-scale project than the "Fast" movies, but it's a lot of fun.

In short, Han's always been the cool guy.

Chuck Walton

Chuck is an editor/writer who's worked for NCM, Fandango, Movies.com, MediaTrip, Hollywood.com and Newsweek. His favorite movie is "Jaws." He's definitely a dog guy.

More from Chuck Walton